- Making Bones - - 1999-05-04
- Our Aim Is to Satisfy - ole-416 - 2000-10-17
Our Aim Is To Satisfy Red Snapper
“Using every brush in the box, this London crew makes a pop-jazz mural with 21st-century vision Tell me: Why can’t all fusion sound this good?” — Will Hermes, Entertainment Weekly
London’s Red Snapper are back with their second Warp/Matador co-release, and the first to be released simultaneously worldwide. Co-produced with Hugo Nicholson (Primal Scream, David Holmes), they’ve created a new dark funk for the year 2000 and onwards.
With their 1996 debut Prince Blimey, Red Snapper’s savage display of traditional jazz instrumentation in a comtemporary context — and, most importantly, the band's ability to pull it off live — was largely responsible for the influx of dance artists fusing acoustic instruments with electronic sounds. They’ve since mined their own territory, creating hybrids no one thought possible, culminating in the intensely visceral, libidinous heat of ‘Our Aim Is To Satisfy Red Snapper.’
A little history — Back in 1993, drummer Richard Thair joined double bassist Ali Friend and guitarist David Ayers, sharing a mutual appreciation for breakbeat precision, rockabilly bass and surf-punk guitar. Red Snapper's first vinyl came out in 1994, and is a murky gumbo of dubbed-out jazz and subterranean bass which sounds like nothing else of the time. Two more EPs followed before Warp Records signed them up and re-released the singles on the compilation Reeled and Skinned.
Red Snapper distinguished themselves from the outset by perfoming live, not relying on studio wizardry to reach their audience. During a period when most “live” music consisted of artists sweating over a sequencer in a flightcase, here was a group of gifted musicians who took their studio material and bettered it on stage. By processing the raw nature of their instruments, the band invalidate the dichotomy of “man versus machine.”
The debut album Prince Blimey was released in August 1996. Leaping with technical agility, Red Snapper plundered their diverse backgrounds to mash up dub, jazz, punk, rock, hiphop and techno into a dirty brew. The 1998 followup, Making Bones, was in some ways a return to the club-oriented style of the band's origins, with their collaborative approach achieving an epic sound. Rapper MC Det and vocalist Alison David (eventually replaced by Karim Kendra) lent, respectively, dark lyrical dexterity and powerfully emotive melodies. By far their most popular release, it was also the first Red Snapper album to be released in the US, courtesy of Matador.
‘Our Aim Is To Satisfy Red Snapper’ is easily their best record to date, with MC Det and Karim Kendra again joining Thair, Friend, and Ayers on a sweaty, film-noir ride that begins like a runway juggernaut and ends with an uneasy struggle for beauty and peace. Feeling that the emphasis on their live excellence was damning them with faint praise, the band set out to make a record with palpable tension and force. With their favorite Charlie Mingus and Public Enemy records as inspiration, Red Snapper succeeded in sloughing off the “fuck-off jazz” tag and created something of comparable depth and singularity.
“They’re Hanging Me Tonight” is an exceptional spaghetti-meets-Sakamoto reverie, showcasing Ayers’s weeping guitar. Professional wrestler Kendra gets wickedly rude on “The Rough And The Quick;” I’m blushing as I write. Det proves himself the only singing jungle MC on the David Essex-sampling “Some Kind of Kink.” And “I Stole Your Car” is the best roots-reggae mutation since “Ghost Town.” Elsewhere, note Friend’s remarkable mix of trademark upright bass with snarling electric low end, and Thair’s explicit but unrestrained freakbeats — as Spin says, “not since “Give it Up Or Turn it Loose” has a rhythm section scorched the earth like this.”
Red Snapper will embark on their first-ever US tour later this year.
"The Snappers return with the most fiery, kickass album of the decade." --GQ
"Red Snapper are a rarity among the current crop of dancefloor specialists. Not just cutters and pasters, they're a trio of bonafide players...Tense, wired, very uneasy listening of the highest order." --Q Magazine
"Fuck-Off Jazz." It's not the most genteel of descriptions, but after a debut album which spawned its share of giddy catch phrases, you can't blame Red Snapper for tossing their own verbal delicacy into the pot. (Besides, it beats "drum 'n' double bass.") With its savage display of traditional jazz instrumentation in a comtemporary context--and, most importantly, the band's ability to pull it off live--1996's Prince Blimey was largely responsible for the current crop of dance artists fusing acoustic instruments with electronic sounds. The new Making Bones--their American debut--is a deep, brazen record that's aimed squarely at the feet but holds mindbending emotional depth. Is America ready?
Back in 1993, drummer Richard Thair joined double bassist Ali Friend and guitarist David Ayers, sharing a mutual appreciation for breakbeat precision, rockabilly bass and surf-punk guitar. Red Snapper's first vinyl came out in April 1994 on Flaw. The "Snapper EP" is a murky gumbo of dubbed-out jazz and subterranean bass which sounds like nothing else of the time. Two more EPs followed before Warp Records signed them up and re-released the singles on the compilation Reeled and Skinned.
Red Snapper distinguished themselves from the outset by perfoming live, not relying on studio wizardry to reach their audience. During a period when most "live" music consisted of artists sweating over a sequencer in a flightcase, here was a group of gifted musicians who took their studio material and bettered it on stage. The group process the raw nature of their instruments, invalidating the dichotomy of "man versus machine." After the Sabres of Paradise turned "Hot Flush" into a breakbeat anthem, Red Snapper went and dropped the remix live.
The debut album Prince Blimey was released in August 1996. Leaping with technical agility, Red Snapper plundered their diverse backgrounds to mash up dub, jazz, punk, rock, hiphop and techno into a dirty brew. The group toured in support of the album with such groups as Bjork, Massive Attack, The Prodigy, and The Fugees, their live reputation fueling the success of the album.
In February '98, Red Snapper entered Milo Studios with Luke "Spacer" Gordon, a cutting edge producer himself, on engineering duties. Making Bones is in some ways a return to the club-oriented sound of the band's origins, with a collaborative approach that proves epic indeed. While the trio remain the core of Red Snapper, there are some new faces on the firm. Acclaimed trumpeter Byron Wallen--the man behind the Sound Advice outfit--adds his talents to the fourth-dimensional drum and bass of "Tunnel" and the spartan breaks of "Bogeyman." They've also hooked up with rapper MC Det, a stalwart of the UK jungle scene who came to the band's attention through his releases on S.O.U.R. His commanding lyrical dexterity speeds alongside the juggernaut funk of "Moving Truck" and rubs dark couplets through "Sleepless." While David Ayers' guitar is not as prominent compared to the first album, he's applied his classical training on the more reflective compositions, scoring the elegiac beauty of "Spitalfields" and the string-laden atmospherics on "Image of You." Alison David (former singer for Life's Addiction) adds powerful vocals to the latter track, her stunning delivery running the gamut of human emotion as the piece unwinds. Both MC Det and Alison David are lending their talents to the band's current touring regimen, set to arrive in North America later this year.
No bones about it...Making Bones is set to propel Red Snapper into new waters Stateside. It's an ass-shaking, mind-baking, love-making good time.
01/24/02 — Red Snapper have decided to split. The London trio have influenced producers and musicians all over the world with their definitive sound since their releases on Flaw Recordings in 1994 and subsequent albums, Prince Blimey, Making Bones and 'Our aim is to satisfy Red Snapper' on Warp Records. As a live act they were respected for their ability to rock the smallest club and the biggest festival with their sound that journalists constantly found hard to describe.
Thair, Friend and Ayers see Snapper as a stepping stone to continued experimentation and success and wrap things up with the 'Heavy Petting' EP on Nuphonic Records and the 'It's all good' compilation on Keep Diggin' records.
Ali Friend is currently working on the soundtrack for the film 'Once upon a time in the Midlands' with fellow Beth Orton co-writer Ted Barnes. The film which is directed by Shane Meadows (24/7, Room for Romeo Brass) is due to be released later this year. Ali will start a collaboration with Tim Simenon in February on new dance material and will be working on Lincoln's debut album. Longterm, Ali is forming a new band which will feature more vocal elements than Red Snapper and new instrumental avenues.
David Ayers is collaborating with producer Felix Tod and Creation/Poptones boss Alan McGhee working with new bands and artists as well as making his own music. David and Felix recently produced two tracks for an upcoming film, starring Sean Penn called "I am Sam." As a guitarist he is also doing session work with the B.B.C. Rich Thair has formed a new band called Toob with Red Snapper collaborator Jake One and continues to Dj around Europe and UK. He has moved to Bristol to write and produce his own album and starts his own night at Bristol's Blue Mountain club called Toob on Feb 2nd.
Rich, Ali and David want to thank everyone who has helped and supported Red Snapper over the years.
For any info contact firstname.lastname@example.org
12/13/99 — The Klublife New Music Show page has a streaming real audio broadcast with Red Snapper’s Ali Friend talking about their remix of Sabres of Paradise's "Wilmot" on the Warp 10 Remixes compilation. In other Warp news, there's a brand new Two Lone Swordsmen 12" EP called A Virus With Shoes that's available now on import.
11/15/99 — Accutron 2000 reviewing the Warp Nights in London: The mood is very celebratory and Red Snapper hit their stride with yet another incendiary set followed by the tight soul stylings of Nightmares on Wax, full band and all performing perfect replications of tracks from "Carboot Soul."
Nightmares on Wax, Red Snapper and Two Lone Swordsmen amongst many on new Sugar Hill Remixed project in stores right now.